You probably won’t care but I’m going to tell you about our normal Saturday morning food shopping adventure. When the local farmer’s market is in session, that is our first stop and then we plan the meals around the produce. I’ve written before about the farmer’s market. I just get certain vibes around places that I can’t explain and our farmer’s market is one of those places. We are a couple that tends to get recognized so it only takes a couple of stops at various booths before we become regulars. The whole small talk thing can be awkward but maybe just the friendly atmosphere adds to my good vibes about the place.
The second stop is a larger national chain. They have a branch of our franchise coffee shop inside the store and so we always stop for coffee and eat the various baked goods we’ve picked up at the market. Again, we’ve become regulars so some of the baristas know us and there is sometimes more small talk. (Guess we can be incredibly social on Saturdays for a pair of introverts). This store has a wider selection and usually has things on sale so we buy some food items but this is the place for household things like detergent and the like.
Our last stop is I guess what might be considered kind of an upscale spot. They play classical music throughout the store which my wife loves. This is our stop for produce and fresh meat and seafood and some bakery things and other assorted items that catch my eye as we wander through the store. Again, this is one of those things that I can’t explain but there is just a nice relaxed vibe about the place that I enjoy as we roam the aisles looking at all the strange assorted food items. We’ve been to other stores in the same genre but they just don’t have the same vibe to me.
The guy at the fish counter knows us because we love their crab cakes (makes a great meal with a salad or a green vegetable like sauteed swiss chard by the way). And there are cashiers we know and she knows the people at the deli counter. Maybe I’m just a sucker for a place that makes you feel welcome since a lot of retail places really don’t.
Anyway, as you may have guessed from the title, we got an email that announced they are closing this particular location. It is just another sign of the times. It is probably hard to be a mid sized chain these days and when you occupy a small niche, it has to be even harder. I know that there are a lot of people who need to be price sensitive and that drives crowds to the lowest common denominator type of store. There just aren’t enough odd people like me who like the vibe and feel of a place.
And, there are other shifts. People do more shopping on line and probably prefer to go to “fast casual” places like Chipotle or the endless number of woodfired pizza places rather than cooking a meal at home. So you don’t need to buy a lot of food and you can get all your other things online so why go out to the store.
The area has changed as well. A couple of years ago there was some major development and some stores moved in and they are just now starting to develop other open property around those places. Kind of the if you build it, they will come school of city development. But, I suspect it means that the land suddenly became more valuable and probably too expensive for a grocery store that has thin profit margins. The company that runs this place is hurting and shutting down a few locations so this one was probably pretty high on the list.
So they start the store closing sale today which means it might start looking a little picked through if we go on Saturday. Eventually, it means we now have to find another location to pick up produce and meat. I’m just a little funny about buying meat and seafood – I really prefer buying from a counter where you can get the portion size you want. The bigger market we go to only has stuff already pre-wrapped and I never really trust that. I mean, if I’m going to eat it, I kind of want to look at all sides of it before buying.
Yeah, in the grand scheme of things, having to find a new place to go to do some shopping doesn’t rank up there in the list of real problems. It is just that when you find a place that you enjoy going and where you feel comfortable, you just don’t want to see it go away. Change happens all the time but sometimes change sucks.